Friday, May 22, 2015

Bringing Inspiration Home

Summer is upon us and we will be travelling - maybe only in our own backyard, but there is plenty of inspiration. Vacations exotic or local, are an opportunity to be present and live intensely. See things with new eyes and collect the memories - they will show up in your art.
We recently returned from a trip to Hawaii. We stayed on Kauai, which is also know as the "Garden Island." Lots of inspiration to be had everywhere you looked, but I was taken by a place called Allerton Gardens. It is part of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens and was created as a private retreat. It is part garden, part art exhibit and entirely unique. It is a collection of garden "rooms," tropical plants and sculptures. Each room has a water feature or plant theme. I felt a bit like Alice walking through a door into wonderland. Here is some of my favorite photos of the garden.











Cocoa pods
Morton Bay Fig trees, used in the filming of Jurassic Park.



Now it is your turn....get outside, enjoy some early summer inspiration and share!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Process of Painting

I thought I would share a bit of my painting process. I never take enough photos, because I get involved in painting and all of a sudden a dramatic change occurs. Here is a look at a recent painting. It is on an 11x30" wooden panel.
Ink drawing on textured surface

Adding some definition - black and white

Neutralized the background - the flower was distracting!
Added more detail to the figure.
The flower and edge of the collage suggest "ears."

Ears appear and color is started.

This is where I got lost in the painting and stopped takeing pics.
 Added more color and ink drips to the background.

Finished

Close up of the face. 
Wishing you inspiration!
Blessings,
Karen


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Preparing for a Show


Preparing for an outdoor show is not for the faint of heart. I have been "preparing" for Artwalk which takes place April 25-26 this year, since April of last year. First I committed to doing the show, filling out the forms, paying the booth fee and being accepted. Pressure was increased when I was selected as one of the Featured Artists for the show - extra publicity and extra stress to create the best art I can make. 
Once accepted to a show I go through my inventory of art to see what I have that is new, since I did the show last. I set the art up to get a visual of what it looks like as a group. Do I have enough large pieces? Is there a range of sizes and prices? Do they go together? This is where I start making lists of what needs to be done. The real work of preparing starts here.....I am ordering supplies, designing postcards, doing an inventory of bubble wrap, bags and receipts for sales, checking things off my lists. All this and I have not picked up a brush yet! I am officially a month away and am still painting, trying to "round out" what I am going to bring.

I have a booth hanging system that is essentially 7 standing wire racks that get dressed up with a black cover. The art has to be arranged on these panels in some sort of pleasing way.  Once I am done I will set up the booth on my patio, hang the paintings, take photos (so I remember where they go) take it all down and start wrapping each piece to protect it for packing in the van. 
I will be setting up the night before the show, so all I will need to bring the next day is my survival kit - hat, sunscreen, water, sketchbook, ipad, money and lots of snacks. Eating messy food when you are trying to talk about your art does not work!
Knowing I prepared well for a show really helps my confidence on opening day. The nerves are still there, but I know I can be proud of what I have brought to share.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Creative Renewal

I just returned from San Diego where I atteneded a party announcing me as one of the 10 Featured Artists for Artwalk 2015. It is a huge honor and it was a fun party!

My display

I had to ship my display art, so I decided to send my canvas panels and a smaller canvas piece. My canvas panels are made of unstretched canvas 24" x 48." I sew a pocket for a dowel on the top and the bottom for hanging. They are large, but can be rolled up and shipped easily.





I brought additional pictures to share.

Talking with guests. There was a local news crew filming the event (the bright light!)

After the event, we travelled to Los Angeles to have a mini vacation. I played with some of my photos in instagram and thought I would share....


Lunch at the LA Farmers Market. 


View looking up from the lobby of the Bonaventure Hotel. If it looks familiar, tons of movies have been filmed there.


Sunset view from our room.


We were within walking distance to the LA Downtown public library. This is a water feature at the entrance with the addition of rain! 

This trip was an inspiring and wonderful break. It reminded me that it is important to get away from the daily routines once in a while, in order to recharge your creative soul. I had been working in the studio writing for the last 2 months, not doing much art. With the manuscript finished, I am raring to get back to painting and seeing what will happen. 



Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Progress

My studio for 5 days...
I have been pretty quiet for a few months as I am continuing to work on my book. I just retured from the photoshoot in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had no idea how involved writing a book would be. There are so many people that become a part of making it happen, from my editor Beth Erikson to the folks that will try to get Barnes and Noble to carry it and a ton of creative people in between. Everyone I met from F+W was so nice, professional and supportive, which made it all worth the stress.
Making art, knowing that you will only have 5 days to finish all the photos, is pretty stressful. Creativity on demand!
On the last day we filmed a short tutorial on one of my exercises. I was super nervous, but once I started teaching, I forgot about the camera. I think I did ok....we will see when I view the video!
My editor Beth and me before the video....

My photographer Christine behind the camera....


Here are some sneaky peeks at some of the artwork I made during my week stay....



Time to get back to work...I have text to write and can not wait to be painting again...


Friday, September 12, 2014

Unexpected Results

I just got back from spending 5 days painting in Portland, Oregon with Jesse Reno. If you want to loosen up, I definitely recommend taking a class from him.

This was a promised break from teaching, writing my book and my daily routine. It had been weeks since I had been able to paint with abandon - no deadline, no expectations....except one. I expected to push myself to resist over working, let go and embrace the raw marks. This is my 3rd year and I keep returning because I always take something new away and I relish being able to paint with a group of like minded folks. Normally I paint in relative isolation, as I am sure many artists do, but every so often I need to create with others. I finished (I think) 3 pieces during the 5 days. I love the first piece, even though it is pretty close to my usual paintings. I worked on 3 separate 16 x20" boards separately, then shuffled them until I could see the possiblilites. 
Here is how they started:



Finished....It can be displayed like this, but also like the process photo above.

The second painting went a bit faster as it started with a ground I had done previously....
The start...I gave it to Jesse to do his thing first.

Not loving it....I basically painted what Jesse had started, so I flipped it upside down and kept going...

finish..."Tonic" to my tired brain!
My breakthrough piece happened so fast that I did not get progress photos. I found a concert poster outside the studio on a phone pole and added it in with my paint. The figure just emerged.
I wanted to refine the face, but resisted, keeping it pretty raw.
It was 5 days of unexpected results and pushing past my usual urges to pretty things up. 
There is great value in pushing yourself to move past your comfort zone. 

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more 

painful than the risk it took to blossom.” 


― Ana├»s Nin



Friday, August 22, 2014

Inspired by My Students

Just unpacking from my trip to Chicago to teach at Create. Preparing 100 packets, trying to pack paints so they don't explode on the plane and struggling to meet the weight limit for my luggage was challenging. I was questioning myself...why I would travel by plane to teach?? 5 minutes into my first class I remembered why. Meeting other folks who are excited to learn and make better art. Seeing the creative ideas and learning from my students makes it all worth the effort. I wanted to share some of the work from my full day classes. I was so swamped in the shorter classes, I did not get a chance to photograph...really sad, as all the work was equally original and wonderful....
Here are some of the creations from my "Journaling Character" class....














Here is some student work from my "Black Magic" class:







Most new artists think that they have to work for years to develop their own unique style, but when you consider that everyone used the same materials, tools and techniques, it is easy to see that there is a different approach to each character.  It was truly inspiring to hear the students in the Black Magic class talking to each other about darks, lights and contrast! I thank all my students, in all the classes I taught, for trusting the process and hanging in through the finish. I hope they will all continue on their artistic journey.